New Orleans Pelicans (18-18) at Boston Celtics (12-23)
Monday, January 12, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #36 – Home Game #20
TV: CSN-NE, NBA-TV
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WWL 105.3
Referees: Bill Spooner, Steve Anderson, Mark Ayotte
The Celtics return home from their 1-2 road trip to host the New Orleans Pelicans. They will face each other again in New Orleans on March 6. This is the first of a 5 game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. The Pelicans are 0-6 against Eastern Conference teams this season. They are also winless in their last 4 road games. The Pelicans are 6-13 on the road and 0-4 on Monday nights.
The Pelicans are the the third team in the trade that sent Jeff Green to the Grizzlies. The Pelicans sent Austin Rivers to the Celtics and Russ Smith to the Grizzlies. Rivers didn't make the trip to Boston as he awaits a second trade that would send him to play for his dad on the Clippers. Prince is expected to meet with Danny Ainge to discuss his role on the team, if any.
The Celtics haven't had much success against the Pelicans in recent years. They have lost the last 5 meetings between these two teams. The last time the Pelicans lost in Boston was way back on November 1, 2009. Ryan Anderson returns to TD Garden where his season ended last year with a herniated disc and a trip to the hospital.
Tayshaun Prince (probably not)
Austin Rivers (definitely not)
Evan Turner vs Jrue Holiday
This is a meeting between two former teammates who remain good friends. Holiday is averaging 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.6 steals. Hopefully Turner can use his height advantage (6'6" vs 6'2") to get the better of this matchup.
Jared Sullinger vs Anthony Davis
Davis is the heart and soul of this Pelicans team and a candidate for MVP. He is averaging 23.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game. In their last win over the Celtics, Davis had the best game of his career with 40 points and 21 rebounds. Sully is definitely going to have his hands full in this one.
Keys to the Game
Focus - The Celtics seem to lose focus at times and then have a flurry of turnovers and ill advised shots. They have to keep their focus and make smart passes avoid getting flustered.
Defense - Defense will always be the key to winning. The Celtics have got to play tough defense and get stops if they want to win this game. The Pelicans are another high scoring team, averaging 101.3 points per game. They allow 100.8 points per game though. The Celtics are capable of playing tough defense, but it takes extra effort on their part.
Rebound - The Celtics have to continue to crash the boards as a team. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics have to show that effort on the boards.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have got to be aggressive in going to the basket, playing defense, diving for loose balls and just playing harder. They won't win many games on talent alone so they need to outwork the other teams to get the win.
Pace and Space - The Celtics need to set the pace and run on every possession in order to get easy baskets before the defenses set up. They also need to space the floor and make the extra pass to find the open man.
Home and Effort
The Celtics are home again and should get a boost from the home crowd. The Pelicans are just 6-13 on the road and so the Celtics may have an advantage if they are the team that give the most effort.
Over the past 25 seasons, Bill Spooner has worked 1,365 regular season games and 96 playoff games. In addition to his NBA experience, Spooner has seven years of collegiate officiating experience in the Pac-10, Big West and West Coast Conferences. He also has eight years of high school officiating experience in his home state of California. Spooner was the ref who was caught on tape by a reporter telling Kurt Rambis that he would make up for a bad call he made on his team at the other end. There was some controversy over it and David Stern vowed to investigate it but nothing ever came of it.
Steve Anderson enters his second NBA season having officiated 45 regular season games. He joined the full-time staff in 2013-14 after six seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League and already having officiated 18 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. Anderson officiated the FIBA U19 World Championships in the Czech Republic in 2013. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 2-5 over Anderson's career while the Pelicans are 5-2 over Anderson's career. His home W/L record is 15-10.
Mark Ayotte completed his 10th NBA season having officiated 592 regular season games and his first playoff game Prior to joining the NBA, Ayotte was a WNBA official for four years and a CBA official for three years. He spent one year officiating in the NBA D-League.
Ayotte has 12 years of collegiate officiating experience, having worked in the Pac-10, Big Sky and West Coast conferences. He officiated in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament and the Big Sky Conference Tournament, including the finals. Ayotte also was an official for the preseason and postseason NIT. He has 10 years of high school officiating experience in the state of Arizona.
The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 1-9 over their last 10 games with Ayotte. Ayotte has been good for the most part, but has had a few games where the calls were questionable and the officiating uneven. The Pelicans are 1-0 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 with Ayotte. Ayotte was one of the refs in the Mavs/OKC game two seasons ago in which Marc Cuban was fined $75,000 for criticizing the referees as among the worst he has seen. Ayotte has a home W/L record this season of 18-11.